Can't boot from USB drive and see the Hard Drive

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ericj

Thread Starter
Joined
Sep 10, 2004
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Hello everyone!
Here's the situation; have a laptop, need to boot from a USB Flash drive and be able to access the laptops hard drive.

Here's the detail;
-a 256mb USB Flash drive
-laptop running WXP
-made a boot floppy using WXP
-used a HP Utility that formats a flash drive using boot files from a boot floppy
-used MKBR utility to make a boot record
-formatted the flash drive using FAT/FAT16/FAT32 and also tried making the flash drive Optimized For Performace so I could format it as NTFS
-I've read a lot of stuff on the net about how to do this and it sounds like everyone else in the world is able to get this to work right

Here's the problem;
I have been able to make the flash drive bootable, however, once at a DOS prompt, the prompt is indicating C: drive for the flash drive and won't recognize any of the other drives in the laptop. I can boot off a floppy USB drive and see the laptops C: drive and D: drive. But, if I boot from the USB Storage Device it comes up as the C: drive and won't see any other drives. I need to be able to see the laptops TRUE C: drive.

The new laptops we are using do not come with floppy drives and it would be great to be able to plug in a USB flash drive containing our DOS HDD Cleaning utility and boot from it and then wipe clean the laptops hard drive. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thanks and hope to hear from someone soon!!
 

JohnWill

Retired Moderator
Joined
Oct 19, 2002
Messages
106,532
I suspect the laptop drives are formatted NTFS, which is why MS-DOS can't see them.
 

ericj

Thread Starter
Joined
Sep 10, 2004
Messages
29
JohnWill - That is correct, the laptops are formatted using NTFS. However, I did try formatting the flash drive by using the Optimize For Performance setting and then actually formatted the flash drive using NTFS and this still didn't allow the laptop drive to be seen. Does anyone know if it is possible to boot from a flash drive and then have the ability to access the laptops c: drive so files on the c: drive can be copied to the flash drive?
 
Joined
Dec 12, 2005
Messages
245
yoru booting off a bootup disk right like john said ms-dos cant see ntfs hook up the flash drive after windows is booted then copy the files you need to it.
 

JohnWill

Retired Moderator
Joined
Oct 19, 2002
Messages
106,532
Well, most FLASH drives won't even format NTFS, and even if you can, that doesn't solve the problem that MS-DOS can't access the NTFS partitions. There is a free NTFS filesystem reader available for MS-DOS from www.sysinternals.com, but I have no idea if that would actually help you any.

If you just want to totally clear off the laptop drive, try getting DBAN to install on your FLASH drive. :)
 

ericj

Thread Starter
Joined
Sep 10, 2004
Messages
29
I will look in to the sysinternals item and get back to you.

Here is more detail as to what I'm doing and why;

1. Have a floppy containing a dos program called G-Disk that will wipe and sanitize a hard
drive and then create a results TXT file. I attach a USB floppy drive to a Dell latitude
D800 laptop. I insert the G-Disk floppy disk and boot the laptop selecting the Boot From
USB Storage Device option. I see that WIN98 is starting and then a A: prompt appears
at which point I can initialize the G-Disk program. G-Disk then searches for the laptops
C: drive and begins it's wipe. When complete it creates a results TXT file and places it
back on the G-Disk floppy disk.
2. Try doing the same thing using a USB flash drive.
A. Use the HP Flash Drive Boot Creation Utility
1. format the flash drive using NTFS (first made the drive Optimized
For Performance)
2. Copy the contents of a WIN98 boot floppy disk to the flash drive
command.com
drvspace.bin
fdisk.exe
format.com
io.sys
msdos.sys
3. insert flash drive in to dell d800 latitude laptop
4. boot and select the USB Storage Device boot option
5. only get a blinking cursor
a. Also get just a blinking cursor when I substitute the
WIN98 boot files with the G-Disk files
B. Use the HP Flash Drive Boot Creation Utility
1. format the flash drive using FAT and select the Create A DOS
Startup Disk option
2. direct the utility to use boot files from the WIN98 floppy disk
3. insert flash drive in to dell d800 latitude laptop
4. boot and select the USB Storage Device boot option
5. see the WIN98 splash screen
6. get a C: drive prompt
7. can't see any drives other that the flash drive contents marked as
C: drive
8. try changing drives to D:, E:, F: and get error message; invalid
drive specifications
a. at this point if I had also placed the G-Disk files on the
flash drive I could execute the program however it
wipes my flash drive instead of the laptops C: drive
and then errors out when it tries to write the results
file to the flash drive because the flash drive now
does not have a partition

QUESTIONS - Why does the floppy disk recognize the laptops C: drive even though the laptops HDD is NTFS and the floppy is FAT?

Thanks for the reply's!
 

ericj

Thread Starter
Joined
Sep 10, 2004
Messages
29
well, I was able to download DBAN. I created the floppy which works when I attach a USB floppy drive containing the DBAN disk. I then formatted the USB flash drive using the Optimize For Performance setting and formatted as NTFS. I then copied the DBAN files to the USB flash drive and attempted to boot. I got the Invalid System Disk error. I then removed the OFP setting and formatted the flash drive using FAT. I copied the DBAN files to the flash drive and booted and again recieved the Invalid System Disk error. I then formatted the flash drive as a boot disk using the WIN98 files from the WIN98 boot disk and then on top of that added the DBAN files. I booted to a C: drive prompt but then could not execute DBAN.

Any other ideas? If I can boot off a WIN98 floppy and then execute my DOS wipe/sanitize program what is it that's stopping the USB flash from doing the same? And why doesn't the USB flash recognize either logical drives or physical drives, other than itself? (scratching head with that crazed look in the eyes)
 
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